Friday, July 13, 2012

Whole Foods Wine: Summer Twitter Tasting #2

Part two of the Whole Foods Summer Wine Twitter tasting event came on July 12, 2012, right when we needed a little something to keep us cool.  In my part of the world, it was not only warm outside, but unusually humid, too.  An opportunity to taste a few nice chillers was welcome.  For an overview of the event, and the wines, check out the earlier article on Whole Foods’ Top Ten Wines for Summer here.  The notes on Twitter Tasting #1 are here.

This time around, we once again have two white wines and a red.  There is once again a good international feel to them as well.  These summer wines hail from Greece, Australia and Spain.

People tweeted their thoughts on these wines from New England, Columbus, Southern California,  New Jersey, Vancouver, BC and Maui, to name just a few locales.  The participants tweeted about each wine in turn, and many lodged a vote for their favorite near the end of the hour.  As is customary, many Whole Foods Markets from across the U.S. were hosting in-store tastings at the time.  All the tweeting occurred in the hashtag #WFMwine.

One of my favorite tweets came from the global wine team at Whole Foods, @WFMWineGuys: “Peloponnese locals bash their octopi on the rocks to tenderize it, then grill & pair it with this snappy sipper.”  They were referring to the first wine in the lineup, which is said to pair spectacularly with calamari, bashed or otherwise.

Kyklos Moschofilero 2011

This white wine is made by Voyatzis, a winery located in the north-central part of Greece, fairly close to Albania and Macedonia and not all that far from Bulgaria. It is fashioned from 100% Moschofilero grapes, aromatic and spicy with generally good acidity.  On the label, this wine is called a “New Generation Moschofilero,” but since this is my first experience with the grape, it’s possible I don’t know what I’m missing.  The alcohol content is very reasonable - 11% abv - so it shouldn’t weigh us down too much. 

The wine gives a pale color in the glass, with a nose that’s made for a summer day.  Tropical fruit and spicy aromas float over a floral base.  In the mouth, the acidity is immediately noticeable.  Flavors of orange peel, cantaloupe and honeydew come forward, and the acidity lasts right through the finish.  There’s a great sense of minerality here, too.  Whole Foods suggests pairing with seafood - Calamari Pasta specifically - or a Mahón cheese.

Yalumba Christobel’s Eden Valley Riesling 2011

Yalumba Winery was founded in Angaston, South Australia in by Samuel Smith in 1849.  Yes, beer lovers, THAT Samuel Smith.  He apparently tired of brewing and went to Australia to make wine.  Its name is taken from Christobel Hill Smith, who was the hostess at the winery for 50 years.  In her memory, the bird-and-flower label is placed with love.  The wine is a low, low 10.5% abv, so it’s even lighter that the Greek entry. 

The acidity is also a little less thrilling than in the Moschofilero, but it’s still nice.  Pale in the glass, this Riesling gives the greek wine a run for its money in the aromatics department.  The nose is bursting with stone fruit, lemon peel and pineapple notes.  I don’t find an awful lot of minerality, but there is a trace of rocks underneath all that fruit.  The wine is off dry, with a nice touch of sweetness on the palate.  I love it when Rieslings employ a “sweetness meter” on the back label, and this one points to “medium sweet.”

Whole Foods recommends a pairing with apple pie and cheddar cheese, which doesn’t sound bad at all.  They also say Sesame-Peanut Noodles  would be good with it, or Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog cheese.

Pallas Tempranillo  2011

From the sandy, rocky soil of La Mancha comes this Jorge Ordoñez selection.  If you're not well-versed in Spanish wine, find one imported by Ordoñez and you'll find a good one.  La Mancha occupies a large portion of Spain’s central plateau.  Any place with windmills, Manchego cheese and Tempranillo gets a star next to it my travel planner. 

This deep red wine smells of plums and cherries and a bit of rosemary.  The palate is fleshy and ripe with dark fruit, and a dusty, rustic characteristic was the buzz of the Twitter tasting.  Whole Foods says pair this with barbecue, shish kabobs, and Spanish chorizo.  They cite  Spanish chickpeas and chorizo as a good choice. The cheese pairing they recommend is Solé Gran Queso.

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